Dr. Everett Raymond Lensink–beloved husband, father, and grandfather–passed away on Thursday, December 16, 2021. Ev, as friends and family knew him, was a long-time Bozeman resident, having established the first ophthalmology practice in Southwest Montana in 1963. The practice, eventually known as Medical Eye Specialists, is still a thriving concern in Bozeman. Ev took a keen interest in the community and its betterment, serving on the Bozeman School Board in the 1970s, and on the boards of Bridger Bowl, the Museum of the Rockies, and the Bozeman Symphony in the early years of those institutions. Together with his wife, Mary, he joined the First Presbyterian Church upon his arrival in Bozeman, later serving as an elder and trustee there. Ev also represented Bozeman in the Montana State Senate from 1977-1981.
Born to John and Cynthia Lensink on February 27, 1930, Ev grew up in small communities in the Dakotas and Minnesota, the youngest of six children. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1952. While there, he met the love of his life, Mary McIver, of Great Falls, Montana. They married on September 12, 1952. Ev went on to complete medical school at Minnesota in 1956, served two years as a doctor in the US Air Force, and then completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1963, Ev and Mary moved to Bozeman, where they raised their children and thrived in the midst of beloved friends, family, culture, and natural beauty.
Though dedicated to his medical practice and the community, Ev’s personal passions were his family, music, and constant learning. He took his kids on numerous trips and outdoor adventures, including a memorable crossing of Flathead Pass using a 1960s era Chevy Biscayne. A talented organist and pianist, he shared his love of music with his children, providing lessons, instruments, and encouragement. He had a generous spirit in ways large and small; he enjoyed leaving bighearted tips and donations and was fond of gifting pianos and organs to churches and institutions in need.
As a man of far-ranging intelligence, Ev was intensely curious and loved learning new things. He particularly enjoyed reading and visiting sites related to Montana history, Lewis and Clark, and the Civil War. He cared deeply about the environment and was proud to have purchased one of the first hybrid vehicles available in Bozeman. He continued skiing regularly at Bridger Bowl and taking piano lessons into his eighties.
After his children graduated from high school and took up residence in dispersed locations across the country, Ev and Mary made countless road trips visiting them and getting to know and dote on their grandchildren. Their last major journeys were to witness and celebrate milestones in their grandchildren’s lives, and even in his last months, Ev kept precise lists of his grandchildren, their birthdays, and their locations, asking after them in every phone call.
Ev was preceded in death by his wife Mary, whom he adored with all his heart. They were married 67 years, or, if counting from the day they began dating, as he liked to do, they were together on earth for 68 years, 10 months, and five days exactly. He is survived by his children, Andy (Carrie) Lensink, Dan (Maurene) Lensink, Susan (Joel) Panciera, Paul (Monica) Lensink; and his much-loved grandchildren, Luke, Gerrit, Mariele, Willem, Anne, Elena, Anya, Calvin, Mira, Henry, and Vivien.
Ev will be missed every day by his friends, children, and grandchildren. He possessed a deep faith in God, which provided him solace, particularly in his final weeks. He leaves a legacy as a wise counselor of high principles, compassion, and generosity, and a loving family who will remember him always and fondly.
A celebration of Ev’s life will be held this spring. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]